(UNIONDALE, N.Y.) - Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum transformed into Santa’s workshop on Sunday, Dec. 5 as thousands flocked to Uniondale to support America’s largest one-day Toys for Tots drive.
The 11th annual drive was spearheaded by Glen Cove businessmen Joe LaPadula and Jon Holzer of Martino Auto Concepts. Featuring food trucks, music, plein-air artists, family activities - and, of course, hundreds of exotic cars and vintage vehicles on display - the event is expected to have generated significantly more than 100,000 individual donations once counting and sorting is complete. Those donations will equip Toys for Tots to meet requests for assistance in Nassau County and throughout our region.
“During the holiday season, a toy is so much more than just a gift under the tree. It shows a child that they are cared for and symbolizes hope for better days to come,” Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton said. “For the last 11 years, Joe LaPadula and Jon Holzer have worked alongside USMC Major (Ret.) Chuck Kilbride to brighten the lives of so many deserving children and families. It truly fills my heart with gratitude each year to be a part of an event that showcases the compassionate spirit of giving that makes the holidays so magical.”
Key sponsors of the 2021 Toys for Tots drive included: the U.S. Marine Corps; the American Academy of Hospitality Services; Gabrielli Truck Sales; First City Project; Bolla Market; Universal Autosports; Hunter Roberts Construction Group; Long Island Sports Cars; Ryan Friedman Motor Cars; PCarMarket Automotive Enthusiast Marketplace; Ferrari Club of America Long Island Chapter; Race the North; Rally Point East; NYSpace Finders; RXR; The Beacon at Garvies Point; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Maserati Long Island; Porsche South Shore; Oyster Bay Property Management; Serendipity 3; 7-Eleven; Ferrari of Long Island; Ritz Carlton Residences North Hills; Harbor Landing; Engineers Country Club and an array of local automotive clubs and community stakeholders.
Nassau County Police Department officers, under the command of NCPD Commissioner Patrick Ryder, kept donation lines moving briskly as a team of uniformed Marines, ROTC members and volunteers collected and sorted donations. Members of the Glen Cove Fire Department provided additional assistance, and the Uniondale and Hempstead Fire Departments used their trucks to stage the American flag arch at the entrance of Nassau Coliseum. Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton and the organizers additionally thank the administration of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran for their logistical support in planning and bringing this massive undertaking to fruition.
There’s still plenty of time to support Toys for Tots this holiday season. Visit toysfortots.org to find a drop-off location near you or to make a monetary donation.
PHOTO CREDITS - Photos by Peter M. Budraitis